- Tropical/Subtropical Grasslands
These rhinos dwell in the habitats stated above because they require a healthy supply of shrubs, woody herbs and plant-life, little areas of shade and a nearby water source and mineral licks.
NATURAL HABITAT vs ZOO ENCLOSURE:
The enclosures used to take care of Black Rhinos in zoos have some similarities to their habitat in the wild.
- Zoos provide these rhinos their basic needs with objects that mix into the man-made habitat. Rocks are for mineral licks, small rivers/ponds serve as a water source and there are plenty of trees for shade.
- Like a Black Rhino's natural habitat, zoos build their enclosures with a flat ground for the Black Rhino. There wouldn't be any hills or rocky mountains because grasslands and shrublands are usually flat or have slight slopes.
Being a minimized area of space compared to the wild, and likely located in a different country, a Black Rhino enclosure must have some differences.
- In some Black Rhino enclosures, grass isn't grown for the rhino to graze on. Zoos use hay, fresh produce and pellets to feed their Black Rhinos instead of them eating plants from their enclosure due to the minimal space (this isn't always the case, as some zoos grow grass, but the grass is likely different from the grass in the wild).
- Instead of always keeping them in an outside enclosure, zoos provide Black Rhinos with heated rooms for the winter, as climate change would be different in another country far from Africa (where the Black Rhino originates). These rooms would be adjacent to the outside enclosure. Without them, the temperature could get too cold for the Black Rhino since they are adapted to warmer temperatures.
- Different species of flora are planted in the enclosure. They are not plants found in the Black Rhino's natural habitat due to different climates. For example, the Baobab Tree, one that's abundant in savannas, would be replaced by perhaps a Honey Locust Tree. As stated before, a different type of grass would cover the Black Rhino's enclosure, since the wild grass in the Black Rhino's habitat would be impossible to grow.
- Skin- this skin is thick and layered, being strong overall. It protects rhinos from sharp grasses and thorns.
- Feet- the soles of a Black Rhino's feet have thick padding, which absorbs shock and cushions the legs. Being large, they also keep the Black Rhino very well balanced.
- Upper lip- the pointed upper lip is prehensile, meaning it can grasp objects. This helps the Black Rhino in foraging and browsing for food (they are herbivores).
- Ears- the ears are quite large and can rotate from the left to the right of the Black Rhino's head. This ability to rotate can pick up sounds from many directions.
- Horns- the 2 horns on the Black Rhino's head are tough and pointed, harmful to whatever it rams into. It is used for defense and offense against other animals.
- An aggressive nature (behavioral adaptation)- although they may look sluggish, Black Rhinos can be violent and are actually quite fast. If one is to harm the Black Rhino, it would likely ram, thinking that one to be an enemy. They tend to charge first and investigate later.This discourages predators from trying to attack on a direct approach.
In that case, the Black Rhino may be more passive at zoos than in the wild.
HUMAN ACTIVITIES THAT HAVE MADE THIS SPECIES ENDANGERED
Afterwards, when the craze ended, it was reported that around 96% of the species' population had been wiped out, with around 2000 animals left (now 5000). With such a low number, the Black Rhinos were on the verge of extinction even after that end of poaching. If preservation doesn't continue, and if illegal poaching is still about, the species could truly become extinct.
STEPS TAKEN TOWARDS PRESERVATION
Save the Rhino International, 2015, London- England, accessed 18/11/2015
Taronga, 2015, Australia, accessed 19/11/2015
WWF Global, 2015, Gland- Switzerland, accessed 19/11/2015
Rose Kivi, BrightHub, 2012, Troy- USA, accessed 22/11/2015